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Friday, 18 May 2018 Dereel Images for 18 May 2018
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Flooding!
Topic: general, animals Link here

Last week we had a double flood: outside from the rain, inside from an overrun laundry sink.

Today it didn't rain. But somehow we managed to do even better with the laundry sink today, flooding not just in the laundry, but into the pantry, the garage, and the cupboard opposite:


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Unfortunately I missed the best photo: Piccola carefully stepping through water about 1.5 cm deep, then trying to jump onto the washing machine, slipping, falling flat on her back into the water, and running off, disgusted.

We've removed the plug from the laundry sink. But on investigation, there's another drain connection on the downpipe, so we should be able to connect the dish washer there.


ANZ: Confirming your expectations
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

The other night I had asked IB to put in a formal complaint about ANZ's “security measures”, specifically asking that the response be from somebody in authority, thus rejecting the telephone complaints line asking that the response be in writing, and not via their broken mail system. I noted at the time that I had little hope of a sensible reply.

Today those fears were confirmed. Yvonne received an email:

Received: from mail1.bemta26.messagelabs.com (mail1.bemta26.messagelabs.com [85.158.142.5])
by www.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 6F4A41B72837
for <ykodd@lemis.com>; Thu, 17 May 2018 23:29:04 +0000 (UTC)
Received: from [85.158.142.99] (using TLSv1.2 with cipher DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 (256 bits))
by server-5.bemta.az-a.eu-central-1.aws.symcld.net id 34/20-11732-E301EFA5; Thu, 17 May 2018 23:29:02 +0000
Received: (qmail 29020 invoked from network); 17 May 2018 23:29:01 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO EXIAU001MELP002.ecorp.anz.com) (203.110.235.211)
  by server-19.tower-224.messagelabs.com with DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 encrypted SMTP; 17 May 2018 23:29:01 -0000
From: Your Feedback <YourFeedback@anz.com>
To: "ykodd@lemis.com" <ykodd@lemis.com>
Subject: ANZ Private & Confidential # COM-random-number
Date: Thu, 17 May 2018 23:28:30 +0000
Message-ID: <A03B542B4241D241A572DC8D8098C181CBFF0649@EXUAU020HWT204.oceania.corp.anz.com>
X-MS-Has-Attach:
X-MS-TNEF-Correlator:
x-originating-ip: [10.220.104.212]
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-RCIS-Action: ALLOW
Received-SPF: SoftFail (EXIAU001MELP002.ecorp.anz.com: domain of transitioning
 YourFeedback@anz.com discourages use of 10.10.3.82 as permitted sender)


Mr Yvonne Lehey

Dear Mr Lehey

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

If your matter requires follow up or investigation, a Complaints Consultant will work with the relevant areas within ANZ to provide you with a resolution. If they have not done so already, the Consultant assigned to assist you will be in contact if we require more information to resolve the matter and when we have a resolution to offer you. Where we are required or at your request, we will provide the resolution in writing.

You can call us directly at the Complaint Resolution Centre on 1800 805 154 regarding the matter you have raised. We're available Monday to Friday, excluding national public holidays, 8am to 7pm AEST/AEDT. If overseas you can call +613 9683 7043 and ask to be transferred to the Complaint Resolution Centre. If calling through the International Operator, ANZ will accept the reverse charge.

How many confirmations of my complaints in one useless text:

  1. Headers that confirm the insecurity of the mail.
  2. In this case, the inability to note the sex of the client, although “Yvonne” shouldn't be that unusual, not even for an uneducated banker.
  3. Complete disregard for my request not to send email, and my statement that I didn't want to talk to anybody on the phone.
  4. Not a word addressing the complaint.

A lot of this could be because IB didn't report the problem correctly, of course. But then they should have listened to the transcript.

The only thing that stops me closing my accounts is that I fear that other banks are just as bad.


Hibiscus flowering again
Topic: gardening Link here

My old Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, cloned from a tree at my uncle Max's nearly 10 years ago, took a pause from flowering after repotting, growing considerably in the period. Now the first of many buds is open, about 2 m above the ground:


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STF-8: flash of superlatives
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Nearly 4 years ago I bought a VILTROX JY-670 Macro Ring Lite ring flash unit. It was relatively cheap, and did what I wanted to—almost: it doesn't have any kind of automatic flash regulation.

So when I was offered an Olympus STF-8 macro flash unit for a (relatively) good price, I jumped at it. I summarized my first impressions on arrival: complicated, expensive, and weak.

Today I took some photos to compare the Viltrox with the STF-8. As mentioned, the problem with the Viltrox is the lack of automatic exposure. As a result, and despite a light meter, it took me three attempts to get a good photo. The examples here are without any post-processing correction, though the photo above has been corrected and cropped from the third of these images:


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By comparison, the first photo with the Olympus looked just about right:


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But look at those shadows on the wall!


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That's the difference between a ring flash and a double flash. OK, we can fix that: use the diffusers provided:


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Oops, not enough light for that. The subject was 0.9 m away, and I took these photos at f/14. That requires a guide number of about 12.6, more than the flash can provide, and possibly an explanation for the somewhat dark appearance of the first image. OK, take at f/8:


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The image looks better exposed than the first one, possibly confirming that the flash unit can't quite handle it. But there seems to be no improvement at all in the shadows!

Somehow this flash unit is a superlative in many ways. On the positive side it gives good exposure within its limits. On the negative side, however:

  1. It is by far the most expensive flash unit I have ever bought.
  2. It is by far the weakest flash unit I have ever bought, only half that of the toy flashes supplied free with cheap Olympus cameras.
  3. It is by far the most difficult flash unit to use. I have never managed to attach the clips to the attachment rings in less than 5 minutes.
  4. For the price, it's an insult that they only supply two attachment rings, 46 mm and 62 mm. Of my 15 Olympus lenses, only 2 have these filter threads (the 30 mm and 60 mm macros). In particular, I can't use it with with my M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO. By contrast, the Viltrox comes with 7 rings which fit more than half my lenses.
  5. There's no flash test button. This is the first time I have ever seen a flash unit without a test button. Erm, what do you need a flash test button for when using TTL flash? It can be useful, but you can't always use TTL flash with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: focus stacking, one of the key advantages of the E-M1s, is incompatible with TTL flash, possibly because of the electronic shutter.

In summary, the purchase seems to be an failure. I wonder whether it's worth buying a mecablitz 15 MS-1. It has a guide number of 15, more than 6 times the power of the STF-8. It has a flash test button. It has some positively bizarre functions like remote function (for a ring flash!). About the only down side is that, according to the manual, it comes with only 3 adapter rings, 52 mm, 55 mm and 58 mm. Those will fit three of my lenses, including the other two macro lenses, but not the ones I want to use it with. Never mind, it's cheap enough to get a 46 mm to 52 mm or 55 mm adapter ring; in fact I already have one of each.

On the other hand, I read at B&H Photo Video that it comes with 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, and 72 mm adapter rings. But then they also sell a 62 mm adapter for the bargain price of only $22, roughly 25% of the price of the Viltrox. I really don't understand why the makers skimp on such cheap details.

Here's a comparison of the features:

Feature       Viltrox       mecablitz       Olympus
      JY-670       15 MS-1       STF-8
TTL flash       no       yes       yes
Flash test button       yes       yes       no
Guide number       14       15       6
Price       90       312       479

The prices are today's prices in USD, mainly from B&H Photo Video. They don't carry Viltrox, however, so that price is from eBay.

In passing, I need to look at the Exif decoding. It (currently) seems to be claiming that I took the STF-8 photos with manual setting of 1/10 power. That's not the case (in fact, it's not a possible setting): I had it set on TTL auto.


Where's that kangaroo?
Topic: animals Link here

Borzois are sight hounds, but they certainly do enough sniffing. There are many trails where kangaroos cross roads, and every time we pass one Nikolai has a good sniff. Here's a particularly good example:


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He's standing almost exactly on a clearly defined path across the road, but he's reacting to smell. Presumably he's looking in the “they went thataway” direction.


Saturday, 19 May 2018 Dereel Images for 19 May 2018
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A day in the kitchen
Topic: food and drink Link here

Somehow I seem to have spent the entire day in the kitchen today, tidying up and cooking. I had planned to make both ayam lemak and chicken curry, but somehow I didn't find time, and I ended up making only ayam lemak from all of the chicken. Why is it so tiring?


Bravo Erdoğan!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not my favourite politician. It takes the likes of Rodrigo Duterte, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Donald Trump to keep him from the bottom of my list. But today he did something that was long overdue: compare the State of Israel to the Nazi régime. To quote Haaretz:

"There is no difference at all between the persecution inflicted on the Jews in Europe 75 years ago and the brutality faced by our brothers in Gaza", Erdogan [sic] said.

"The children of people who were tortured in concentration camps in every way during World War II unfortunately today resort to methods against innocent Palestinians that are in no way inferior to those of the Nazis."

Yes, that's significantly overstating the case. But in each case they killed innocent people in flagrant violation of human rights. What Israel needs to do now is to prove that they're not like the Nazis. And to do that, they need to step back from the tactics they've been using in recent decades. But what do we get? From The Times of Israel :

Erdogan, who supports the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza, ...

It's a matter of opinion whether Hamas is a terrorist group or not. They are the legitimate government of the Gaza Strip. They also have a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which comes closer to the definition of terrorists. But who has heard of them? No, it's Hamas that's normally mentioned. And I haven't been able to find anything that shows specific support by Erdoǧan for Hamas.

In passing, it's shameful that the government of Australia has joined the USA in opposing an investigation into the human rights abuses. But of course they're probably worried about the possibility of an investigation of human rights in their tropical gulags.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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